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Where are our Trials at?

Posted on June 25, 2024by Jessica Bruner

Have you wondered where DIFM Trials are located? We have trials taking place all over the world! DIFM Trials - World Wide


Check out this cool map that shows locations of any trial from 2016-2023. 

New Team Member - Logan

Posted on June 21, 2024by Jessica Bruner
Logan Stechschulte joined the DIFM team in April of 2024. He is a fourth generation farmer growing corn, soybean, and wheat on their family farm in Northwest Ohio.
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He will soon graduate from Rhodes state college with an associates degree in agriculture technology.
We are excited to have Logan apart of our team and cannot wait to see what he contributes to the program.

Successful 2024 Trial Uploaded & Implemented

Posted on June 12, 2024by Jessica Bruner

Take a look at this 2024 DIFM trial being successfully uploaded and implemented. It has been a successful start to 2024! Reach out to us if you have questions about our research or are looking into joining our project in 2025



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Midwest Field Trial Planted - May 2024

Posted on May 24, 2024by Jessica Bruner

After many rain delays, one of our farmers finally got the soybean population trial field planted on May 21st.  The plots on this trial are 43’ wide and match the farmer's combine header width.  The only thing the farmer can do is display the as-planted data on the iPad and do a screen capture just to prove that the as-planted data matches and aligns with the prescription map.   In the past, you then used the harvest data along with the prescription file to analyze the data.

The farmer imported the screen captured .jpg image file into their SMS database and registered it so that the coordinates match the field boundary.  See the 3 images below.

If any of you have questions, or would like to conduct your own DIFM Field Trials - please contact us. 

Cover Crop Plots - Aerial Visibility

Posted on March 25, 2024by Jessica Bruner


We were curious to see if cover crop plots would be visible from the sky, so we went and took a look for ourselves. In the image below, you can see the difference in the cover crop field compared to the surrounding fields. 



You can really see the cover crops with NDVI (image below)

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We were then curious to see how it aligned with the original design.  See below. It will be very interesting to compare the as-seeded data with this result. Maybe some plots were seeded but did not grow.

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This remote sensing data might help predict the N credit from the cover crop.

2024 On-Farm Precision Agriculture Research Network Meeting

Posted on March 04, 2024by Jessica Bruner

On February 15, 2024, the UMN Precision Agriculture Center organized the 2024 On-farm Precision Agriculture Research Network Meeting to share and discuss the results of 2023 on-farm precision agriculture trials and plan for 2024 on-farm trials. The participants included collaborative growers, crop consultants, university researchers, graduate students, an USDA ARS scientist, Minnesota Department of Agriculture scientists and industry collaborators. In addition to the in-person meeting, an on-line option was also provided to those who could not join in person. 

Group Meeting

Attached below you can find the notes, details, and pictures from the meeting. 


2024 On-farm Research Summary Meeting News

2024 International Conference for On Farm Precision Experimentation

Posted on February 26, 2024by Jessica Bruner

115 People participated in the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project's Conference that was held in sunny South Padre Island, Texas January 7-11th, 2024. We had 115 attendees from 12 countries who participated and listened to 50 presentations and 30 breakout/training sessions over the 4 days.  

The purpose of ICOFPE ’24 was to present and promote a revolution in agricultural sciences that moves agronomic experimentation from university- and corporate-owned fields to farmers’ own fields.  The conference brought farmers, crop consultants, and professional agricultural researchers together from all over the world who are interested in working with precision agricultural technology. Those professionals have interest in conducting meaningful agronomic field trials on farmers’ own fields, and then using the data generated to improve farm profits and enhance farm sustainability. 

The following is a breakdown of attendees:


Total registered: 115

Within that 115 registered, here is a further breakdown of the type of registration and the location of the attendees. 


Virtual: 15

Students: 19

Countries: 12 

  • Brazil (2)    
  • Canada (13)   
  • China (1) 
  • Colombia (1)     
  • Germany (1)    
  • Italy (1)    
  • Japan (3)
  • Nigeria (2)     
  • Korea (1)     
  • South Africa (3)     
  • Uruguay (1)     
  • USA (86)


Academia: 63

Industry: 52

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We received some great feedback about the conference. Some attendees said:


-"There was a great balance between listening to technical and in the field experts and doing something through training and feedback."


-"The allocated time for each presentation struck an excellent balance, allowing for
comprehensive coverage without becoming overly lengthy or monotonous. The well-managed
timing not only facilitated a smooth flow but also ensured that the audience remained engaged
and attentive throughout the sessions. This approach greatly contributed to the overall
success of the event."


-"We really enjoyed the level of information that was put together for this meeting...The quality of speakers was top notch along with the information. If there will be another meeting next year we would like to be on the list."


Check out our website: 


The DIFM team hopes to have a 2025 conference to show the continued progress that is taking place with the entire DIFM project. Be on the lookout for that information coming soon!


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Attending the 2023 ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in St. Louis this week? Stop by our exhibit!

Posted on October 31, 2023by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Bob Dunker, DIFM Field Trials Coordinator, and Carli (Miller) Jones, DIFM Project Coordinator, are set up in the Exhibit Hall at Booth 332. Stop by to learn about the project, catch up on recent updates, and learn about the upcoming International Conference for On-Farm Precision Experimentation in January 2024!


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The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project, Booth 332 at the ASA, CSSA & SSSA Annual Meeting.

New Team Member - Jessica

Posted on October 25, 2023by Jessica Bruner

Jessica Bruner Joined the DIFM Team in August of 2023 as the assistant project coordinator. Jessica has years of experience in marketing and grant writing/reports.  J Headshot

Developing an Affordable, Retrofittable Yield Monitor for Cotton

Posted on October 11, 2023by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

During a trip to Colombia by Brendan Kuhns, it became clear that yield monitors for cotton are hard to come by, especially the kind that is retrofittable on older machines. Fortunately, DIFM researcher Dr. Tony Grift did his PhD on the development of a generic method for mass flow sensing of granular materials (fertilizers in particular), and he is eager to apply his method to cotton. We will build a new optical photo-interruption arrangement that measures the spacing durations between clumps of cotton passing a sensor. Then we will apply the theory of arrival processes to determine the number of cotton clumps that pass the sensor per unit of time, which is an indirect measure of the mass flow.

What is so fascinating about this method is that it works by only measuring the spacing times in between cotton clumps. So without knowing or measuring any material parameters, we still can measure the mass flow. It gets better: the measurement device does not need calibration, since nature is literally doing the work. If you would like to read details, here are links to paper 1 and paper 2 (the second won an award from the EurAgEng organization).

We hope that this small project will also connect our statisticians with the engineers (no easy feat!). For more information, feel free to read Dr. Grift’s essay titled “Embracing variability: How to hug a cactus”, which he claims to be “loosely based on the brother of our fearless leader David Bullock.”


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Figure 1 Shown is the mass flow sensing scenario; we have clumps of material (cotton balls) and we measure the spacing durations among them. Believe it or not, using Poisson driven arrival theory, these data are sufficient to determine how many clumps are passing the sensor per unit of time, irrespective or the overlapping effect. Isn’t statistics great?


Meet New Project Member: Dr. Sarah Sellars

Posted on September 21, 2023by Carli J. Jones (Miller)


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Dr. Sarah Sellars is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Sustainable Farm and Food Systems in the Ness School of Management and Economics at South Dakota State University.

Her research interests include conservation practice adoption, farmer input rate decisions, farm management, precision agriculture, and agricultural ecosystems markets. Sarah holds a B.S. in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her interest in agricultural economics began while growing up on a family grain and livestock farm outside of Winchester, IL.  

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Join us for the 2024 International Conference for On-Farm Precision Experimentation.

Posted on August 30, 2023by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

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The USDA-funded Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) Project is inviting farmers, crop consultants, and anyone else interested in digital agriculture to the 2024 International Conference for On-farm Precision Experimentation (ICOFPE ’24) being held on South Padre Island, TX during the second week of January.  The purpose of ICOFPE ’24 is to present and promote a revolution in agricultural sciences that moves agronomic experimentation from university- and corporate-owned fields to farmers’ own fields.  The conference will bring together from all over the world farmers, crop consultants, and professional agricultural researchers interested in working with precision agricultural technology to conduct meaningful agronomic field trials on farmers’ own fields, and then using the data generated to improve farm profits and enhance farm sustainability. 

DIFM is university-based and involves precision agriculture researchers and teachers from over twenty U.S. educational and research institutions.  The conference will provide farmers, crop consultants and others training in how to use DIFM’s “cyber-infrastructure,” which will allow users to design and conduct full-field agronomic trials, and then gain useful insights from the data generated on their own fields.  Use of the cyber-infrastructure is free of cost, and a large conference grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture has made it possible to charge low conference registration fees.


We encourage you to visit our conference website at to register for the conference and learn more about the program and presenters. 


Jan. 8-9Symposium I: “OFPE in Practice.”  For farmers, consultants, and anyone else interested in data-based crop production management.
Jan. 10-11 Symposium II: “OFPE in Professional Research.”  Reports of formal academic research, aimed at professional researchers but open to all.

Bullock Visits Olds College

Posted on August 16, 2023by Jessica Bruner

Dr. David Bullock, PI of the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project, visited Olds College for their AgSmart ( educational expo focused on data and technology across the agriculture industry.




This event took place August 1 & 2, 2023. Olds College of Agriculture & Technology welcomed more than 3,100 people for its fourth in-person AgSmart event. This two-day educational expo focused on agriculture technology and data across the sector — how to gather it and how to use it to enhance productivity and profits. 


Visit us! We’re in Nashville, TN at the 2023 NAICC AG PRO EXPO!

Posted on January 15, 2023by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

We are set up at the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) January 25-27, in Nashville, TN. If you are a Crop Consultant or Producer interested in conducting your own on-farm field trial, come chat with us! Our DIFM Trial Design Software is set up and available to demo. Learn more about the conference here: 2023 General Overview | National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (



DIFM Trial Completing the Third Year in South Africa

Posted on November 15, 2022by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Jozeph du Plessis farms near Schweizer-Reneke in the North West Province of South Africa. Here, he is applying a soybean seeding rate trial with a John Deere 6M125 tractor and John Deere 1755 planter equipped with the Agleader Incommand system. This is the 3rd consecutive season Jozeph is running DIFM trials on his farm. This year’s trial was planted on October 24, 2022.


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Conference: Contributing to an International Cyber-Infrastructure for On-Farm Precision Experimentation

Posted on October 21, 2021by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

In October 2021, David Bullock was invited to Montpellier, France and the Bonn, Germany to give presentations titled “Contributing to an International Cyber-Infrastructure for On-farm Precision Experimentation” before the OFE2021 “Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation” Conference ( ) and the University of Bonn PhenoRob Institute  ( ).  The purpose of the trip was to publicize DIFM’s latest efforts and seek collaboration with researchers in the European Union.


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A New Multistate Research Project

Posted on June 10, 2021by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

The DIFM team has created a multistate Research Project, titled NC1210: Frontiers in On-Farm Experimentation. This project will enable researchers from all across the United States to collaborate and host meetings on an annual basis.


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions: CA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI, MN, MS, MT, ND, NE, NY, OH, OK, WA, WI. Non-Land Grant Participating States/Institutions: Illinois State University, Iowa Soybean Association, Purdue University, USDA-ARS.


Learn more about the work and project milestones here: NC1210: Frontiers in On-Farm Experimentation – NIMSS.

DIFM Trial Updates: Argentina

Posted on November 04, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Take a look at DIFM’s recent 100-hectare corn seed rate per hectare trial design, located in Buenos Aires province, Argentina, and satellite imagery taken during the growing season.


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2020 Harvest: An Inside Look

Posted on October 09, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Check out this cool video of Wendte Farms, LLC harvesting their 2020 DIFM Soybean Population trial this morning!


DIFM team received a $4 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Posted on October 05, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Our team has some BIG news! Read our full press release on Illinois ACES.

URBANA, Ill. – A University of Illinois research team, led by Agricultural and Consumer Economics Professor David Bullock, received a $4 million award from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement on-farm conservation practices.

The U of I project is entitled “Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation.” In collaboration with Washington State University’s Extension Program and cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers, researchers plans to deploy a data-intensive crop management system based on on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluation of the yield costs of reducing nitrogen losses, enabling data-informed input management decisions.

“The great thing about this award is that it gives us funding to make sure that every year we can increase the profits of participating farmers and their crop consultants,” Bullock says.

“We think that the field trials we will be running are truly revolutionary, but we need interested farmers and crop consultants to get in touch with us right away so we are ready to go in spring 2021. Contact us through the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project website to express your interest. We’ll be running trials on corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat, and working with farmers all over the U.S.,” he adds.

Full news link:

Aerial View Of A DIFM Trial

Posted on August 27, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Take a look at this 2020 on-farm trial located in Illinois.


Drone Trial Photo Scaled


Photograph from a drone. Many of the trial design’s plots can be distinguished with the naked eye.

New Faces at DIFM: Francisco Gamino

Posted on May 11, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Meet DIFM’s new team member, Francisco Gamino.


Francisco Gamino

My name is Francisco Gamino and I am studying Computer Science + Crop Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana – Champaign (UIUC).


I have over three years of experience working as an independent contractor in programming and web development. I’ve worked with various companies and institutions in town — including Inprentus, Inc., UIUC Physics, Sagamore Venture Publishing LLC, and the NSF-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center in the UIUC Materials Research Lab. I specialize in programming and website design and often work in projects that require automation, data migration, and efficient workflow design.


Before transferring to UIUC, I attended Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where I earned an associate degree in Data Systems and Development and certificates in Database Management and General Programming. I completed the Leadership Academy and I served as the Vice President of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the President of Club Latino. I’m an All-Illinois Academic team member.


I can speak, read, and write English and Spanish fluently. I have strong communication skills and I’m always looking for opportunities to improve myself.


I joined the DIFM project in the spring of 2020 to help create an efficient system for working with data and help them take it to the next level. Currently, we are collaborating with Oracle Corporation to build this system and I’m heavily involved with the data migration and user interface design aspects of the project. I also work with data in QGIS and R to create and manage multipurpose datasets.


In my free time, I enjoy playing chess, bike riding, cooking, coding, and watching movies.

AgriNews: Helping farmers conduct their own on-farm trials

Posted on March 25, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Talon Becker is a University of Illinois Extension Commercial Agriculture Educator working with the Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) project to help farmers conduct their own on-farm trials throughout Illinois.

What seeding rate and/or fertilizer rate will result in the best possible yield for my field? This is one of the many questions that farmers ask themselves every year and that researchers and agronomists have been trying to answer for decades.

Numerous environmental and genetic hybrid or variety factors, either on their own or through interaction with each other, influence the actual optimum seeding and fertilizer rates for a given field or section of a field.

This is not a new concept. The influence of genetic and environmental variation and the interaction of these two major factors, often denoted as “GxE,” have been recognized since the early days of modern agronomic research.


Until recently, the best tools at the disposal of agronomists and agricultural researchers for estimating and accounting for the influence of these sources of variation in the estimation of optimal levels of a given agronomic input, such as seeding rate, have been multi-site and multi-year replicated trials.

Read the full article by Talon Becker, published on AgriNews:

The Furrow: Ag Research in a New Age

Posted on March 19, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project was featured in the recent February edition of The Furrow.


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Precision ag technology is spurring a dramatic change in agricultural research. It’s replacing the time-consuming test plot techniques of the past – the marking flags, tape measures, weigh wagons, and grad students – with today’s automated computer files, variable-rate controllers, and yield monitors. These new tools are empowering growers to easily and economically generate data that makes on-farm research a reality.

“This new approach is a real game-changer,” says David Bullock, agricultural economist at the University of Illinois. “The future could see farmers conducting experiments on their fields as routinely as they now take soil samples. The result will be management recommendations based on field data, rather than a ‘rule of thumb’ recommendation.”

Read the full article by Larry Reichenberger on The Furrow:

Meet Our New Student Intern: Emanuel Hernández Cornejo

Posted on February 14, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

An introduction by Emanuel: 



My name is Emanuel Hernández Cornejo and I am from Panama, located in Central America. I started my education at 5 years old at a school close to my neighborhood because my parents wanted to give me the education they never had. At the beginning of my studies, I was not a dedicated person because I did not know what I wanted to do. However, after some advice and time, I understood that the best way to reach my goal is through further education. Years later with a few months left in high school in Panama, after I had focused on one path, I won a scholarship under the branch of agriculture from a university in Honduras. Thanks to this aid, I was not only able to continue my education, but also experience a new culture and new people. It was there that I learned new knowledge about the earth, animals, and the importance behind all of these things. More specifically, it taught me how the world is advancing technologically which will lead to great changes in humanity.



The main reason that I chose this branch was because of my parents. They have a small patch of land that they do not know what to do with, so they inspired me to choose something related to land. The field of agriculture became interesting to me, so I went for it. The other reason is because Panama is a country where 84% of their earnings come from businesses, but depends a lot on other countries for supplies. Most people believe that in agriculture there is not much one can do, but I believe this is not true.




I know I can change myself, but that I can also inspire other people to change. In the same way, I can start to change how others view the new technology. Specifically, I want to focus on using the technology to change the waste produced by people. Improvements in technology can correct the current misuse of agrochemicals and avoid pollution, which in turn, will also save money. For this reason, I am here to learn about new technologies that are in place through the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project.











Registration Open for Data Harvesting Workshop

Posted on January 29, 2020by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Take a look at this upcoming workshop hosted by the Center for Digital Agriculture on the University of Illinois campus. A great opportunity for anyone interested in data science and Central Illinois agriculture.


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Trevisan Presents at ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting

Posted on December 02, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

  The American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America hosted the 2019 International Annual Meeting, “Embracing the Digital Environment,” on November 10-13, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas.

   Rodrigo Trevisan, graduate student in Crop Sciences, gave two presentations titled, Understanding the Spatial Variability of Optimum Nitrogen Rates Using Remote Sensing and on-Farm Precision Experimentation and Using Deep Learning to Predict Optimum Crop Management Decisions.

View the presentation materials below:

A Visit to the Field

Posted on November 21, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)


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It was a chilly harvest day in Illinois, but that didn’t phase University of Illinois Ph.D. student, Aolin Gong. Gong visited one of the DIFM fields to gain some firsthand experience of what harvest is like behind the scenes.


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Pictured above is graduate student, Aolin Gong, standing in front of the CASE IH combine. Pictures taken by DIFM Coordinator, Carli Miller. 


FarmWeekNow: Interview with Dr. David Bullock

Posted on August 30, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Dr. Bullock, PI of the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project, was recently interviewed by FarmWeekNow following his presentation at the University of Illinois Agronomy Day.

A data management research team, which includes University of Illinois researchers, is helping farmers leverage their existing precision technology to conduct on-farm trials and enhance their management, according to David Bullock, U of I agricultural and consumer economics professor.

Bullock, who spoke Thursday at U of I Agronomy Day, leads the Data Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) research team that generates and analyzes agronomic data to improve how the world fertilizes crops. DIFM is in the fourth year of a $4 million research project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. -FarmWeekNow

Click here to read the full article by FarmWeekNow.

Visit us at the Farm Progress Show!

Posted on August 27, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Visit the University of Illinois ACES tent at the Farm Progress Show and design a free field trial on your own field with the Data-Intensive Farm Management team (+ a free snickers bar included with each trial design)!

We will be creating trials and answering questions about the DIFM project from 8:00am-5:00pm each day. Stop by and chat with us!


Farm Progress Booth

Bullock Invited to Speak at InfoAg Conference

Posted on July 26, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM Principal Investigator David Bullock gave an invited presentation, titled “The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project: Using Precision Technology to Get the Information Needed to Use Precision Technology Profitably,” at the InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, on July 25. The InfoAg Conference bills itself as, “The Premier Event in Precision Agriculture,” and features seminars by agribusiness and academia, along with display booths by companies that have entered the digital agriculture industry.  Approximately one hundred farmers, crop consultants, and professionals in the digital agriculture industry were in attendance.  Agribusiness professionals from the U.S., Australia, and Ukraine approached Bullock after the presentation, expressing interest in learning more about collaborating with the DIFM project.  His Power Point presentation can be found at:


Info Ag Conference


Pictured above is just a few of the exhibits in the Union Station. Over 1200 registrants attended the 2019 InfoAg conference, held July 23-25th. The InfoAg Conference has been a premier event since 1995.

Maria Boerngen: Farmer Perspectives on Nutrient Reduction

Posted on July 08, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM’s Maria Boerngen was recently featured in CSA News Magazine for her study focused on farmer perspectives on nutrient loss strategies:

Maria Boerngen, an Assistant Professor of Agribusiness at Illinois State University, is interested in understanding how farmers access information and how they use that information in decision-making. In Agricultural & Environmental Letters (, Boerngen and co-author Benjamin Marks recently published results of a study focused on farmer perspectives on nutrient loss strategies in one Illinois county. This pilot project was in preparation for a larger survey, but the approach is relevant for understanding how farmers discover information in general. For example, how do farmers learn about new crop varieties or new equipment? Or, what makes an individual farmer decide to implement a new management practice?

This specific pilot study consisted of a telephone survey of 30 farmers, conducted in 2016–2017. The researchers wanted to determine if farmers were familiar with the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, if farmers were concerned with nutrient loss, and if farmers were taking action to reduce N and P runoff. Released in 2015, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy was developed by a group of researchers and other stakeholders. The document outlines goals for reducing nutrient loss from agricultural land, industry, and urban landscapes. In addition to setting these statewide reduction goals for reducing N and P loss to the Mississippi River, the strategy includes suggested best management practices.

The results of these interviews revealed farmers are concerned about nutrient loss, even if they are not aware of the particular details of the state plan. Of the 30 farmers interviewed, 14 indicated they were familiar with the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Boerngen says it was encouraging to find out that 19 of the 30 said that they were concerned about nutrient loss and had taken steps to reduce the nutrient loss from their farms. These farmers also stated in interviews that their trusted sources of knowledge included researchers and retailers, suggesting that opportunities for researchers to communicate with farmers through field events can resonate with this group.

Click here to view the full article on CSA News Magazine.

Faces at DIFM: Hoselton Graduates from ISU

Posted on May 20, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

George Hoselton has been working with Data-Intensive Farm Management, under Dr. Maria Boerngen (Illinois State University), on his master’s thesis project since August of 2018. His research focused on understanding how farmers perceive nutrient loss.

Hoselton successfully defended his thesis, “Illinois Corn Farmers Concerns About Nutrient Loss and the Adoption of Best Management Practices” and graduated from Illinois State University with his Masters Degree this past weekend.


George Hoselton


Congratulations, George! Thank you for the work you have contributed to DIFM!

Faces at DIFM: Mandrini Receives Outstanding MS Thesis Award

Posted on May 17, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Congratulations to DIFM’s German Mandrini, recipient of the Agricultural and Consumer Economics “Outstanding M.S. Thesis” 2018 award for his thesis titled, “Using Crop Simulation to Optimize Variable Rate Experimentation.” Mandrini studies under Dr. David Bullock.


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Pictured above is German Mandrini receiving his award with Dr. Bullock at the Award Ceremony.

First look at one of our 2019 trials in the ground..

Posted on April 30, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

One of our 2019 variable seed rate trials has officially been planted- check it out!


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Bullock and Curran present at the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Meeting

Posted on April 26, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Dr. David Bullock (University of Illinois) and Keith Curran (Washington State University) traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Meeting held on April 1.

“In 2019, DIFM will run approximately seventy trials in ten U.S. states, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. DIFM is developing software that will allow it to “scale up” its data management, processing, and analysis activities, and provide a farmer-consultant decision tool that will allow the practical implications of the data analysis to positively affect the efficiency of farmers’ input management decision. DIFM is interested in exploring possibilities of working with other groups to develop a cloud-based research cyber-infrastructure that will aid researchers worldwide who conduct run on-farm agronomic research.”

Check out their full presentation, On-farm Agronomic Research, Data Generation, and Modeling in the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project and Washington State Farmers Network.” 

Yield Data Received from 2018 Trials

Posted on April 18, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Yield data was received from fields in: Illinois (11), Ohio (2), Kansas (2), New York (1) Nebraska (4), Montana (6), Louisiana (1), Brazil (2), and Argentina (17) for 2018.


2018 Trial Map


Our team is currently designing 2019 field trials. 

Interested in our work? Feel free to contact us at anytime.

Recently Published Papers

Posted on April 16, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Rodrigo Goncalves Trevisan is a graduate student in Crop Sciences, under Professor Nicolas Martin, who is focused on harnessing the power of new analytical methods to improve the decision-making process in agricultural systems. Check out Rodrigo’s two published papers: Improving Yield Mapping Accuracy Using Remote Sensing and Site-Specific Treatment Responses in On-Farm Precision Experimentation.


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DIFM Research Featured in CSA News Magazine!

Posted on March 20, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Divina Gracia P. Rodriguez, David S. Bullock, and Maria A. Boerngen recently published, “The Origins, Implications, and Consequences of Yield-Based Nitrogen Fertilizer Management” in the Agronomy Journal.

Check out their work, now featured on the cover of Crop, Soils, Agronomy News Magazine:


Rules are made to be broken—or at least challenged—even on the farm. The “1.2 Rule” for nitrogen fertilizer application has guided countless agricultural researchers, consultants, extension agents, and farmers for decades. However, some researchers have begun to re-examine the evidence behind it as well as the history of the rule itself.

In an article published recently in Agronomy Journal (, agricultural economists and agronomists summarized the research that shows the ineffectiveness and harmfulness of the 1.2 Rule and yield-based nitrogen fertilizer management, how the rule came to be, and where the research should go next.

Continue reading this article in CSA News…

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Development of a new method for cotton yield monitoring: Think big or go home!

Posted on March 11, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Check out this story from Dr. Tony Grift regarding Brendan Kuhns, a graduate student working with the DIFM Project:


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Continue reading 

New Project Coordinator

Posted on January 16, 2019by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Carli Miller joined the DIFM team as the new Project Coordinator in November 2018, following Caitlin McGuire’s departure. Carli received her BS in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois in May of 2017. Coming from a strong agricultural background, she grew up on her family farm in Central Illinois- primarily raising corn, soybeans, and beef cattle.


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Please contact her at

DIFM in Farmdoc Series

Posted on November 02, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM was highlighted in an article on the University of Illinois Extension’s Farmdoc Daily website, written by Professors Jonathan Coppess and David Bullock. We’ve included the first paragraph, but follow the link above to learn more!

Nutrient loss in modern farming is a challenge that sits at the intersection of food production and the impacts of food production on natural resources (farmdoc dailyFebruary 26, 2016March 17, 2016).  Agricultural research represents an investment in solving such challenges through basic and applied research efforts, the results of which can be translated to farmers and industry through demonstration and outreach (farmdoc daily, August 23, 2018).  This article reviews USDA-funded agricultural research seeking to apply data, technology and a full range of science to the challenge of managing farm nutrients.

Aolin Gong Gives Presentation

Posted on November 01, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

University of Illinois graduate student Aolin Gong attended the Illinois Economics Association 48th Annual Meeting. She presented her second year paper, “An Investigation into the Optimal Plot Length in On-farm Trials.”

DIFM Travels to New York

Posted on October 31, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Dr. David Bullock and graduate student Jaeseok Hwang went to New York to meet with Margaret Krause and Dr. Michael Goore of Cornell University and the Advanced Ag Alliance, a non-profit organization in New York dedicated to running on-farm whole-field agronomic trials with participating farmers. DIFM and the Ag Alliance agreed that DIFM would analyze and report on data from their experiments between 2015-2018, and will design approximately 20 trials for the Advanced Ag Alliance in 2019. These trials will focus on seed rate and seed variety. In return, they will provide funding for a grad student research assistant’s tuition and salary.



Jaeseok Hwang and Margaret Krause, meeting at Cornell University, to discuss Advanced Ag Alliance trials.


Following this, Bullock and Hwang went to Auburn, New York, to meet with farmer Todd DuMond. DuMond was the principal driver behind the Ag Alliance’s on-farm research project. DuMond has a BS and MS in Engineering from MIT, and is passionate about Data-Intensive Farm Management. They discussed field trial details.


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DIFM grad student Jaeseok Hwang will conduct the statistical and economic analyses for the DIFM/Advanced Ag Alliance field trials in New York state.  Here, Jae is shown at the farm of farmer Todd DuMond, who founded the AAA.

Paula Girón named International Plant Nutrition Institute’s (IPNI) 31 Scholar Award recipient

Posted on October 29, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM graduate researcher Paula Girón was named one of the International Plant Nutrition Institute’s (IPNI) 31 Scholar Award recipients. The IPNI awards graduate students in countries with an IPNI program in science programs relevant to plant nutrition science and the management of crop nutrients.

Paula Girón is working toward her M.Sc. in soil since at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. She is working on a thesis focusing on site-specific nitrogen management in maize in the northwestern Buenos Aires province. Girón was a visiting scholar with the DIFM project during fall semester of 2016.

First Look at New DIFM Publication

Posted on October 23, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Professors David Bullock, Maria Boerngen, and Divina Gracia P. Rodriguez just received a first look at their accepted paper in the Agronomy Journal, titled “The Origins, Implications, and Consequences of Yield-Based Nitrogen Fertilizer Management.” Take a look!

Abstract Submitted to the Research Showcase at the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Second Annual Workshop

Posted on October 10, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Professor Bullock, in conjunction with members of the team behind the recent NSF INFEWS application, submitted the following abstract for consideration in the upcoming INLRS Annual Workshop’s Research Showcase:


We propose to create an integrated FEW model and with user-friendly software to 1) enable individual farmers to examine the predicted economic and environmental impacts of their fertilizer management strategies, and 2) provide policy makers with a user-friendly tool in order to design policies that will lead to efficient reduction of N-nitrate contamination in the Mississippi River Basin. The model will be based on the ideal CyberGIS computation platform, and expand to the scale of the Mississippi River Basin the DSSAT crop growth model and the SWAT water drainage model. The model will also integrate the BioScope model of biomass supply, and a partial equilibrium economic model of crop, energy, and biomass markets in the U.S. Midwest and beyond. We argue that the principal shortcoming of current agricultural “Big Data” is that there is little record of variance in managed input use. Of course, managing inputs efficiently is the whole point of farm management, whether the goal is to increase monetary returns or environmental sustainability. Therefore, we propose to parameterize our integrated model with data we generate from large-scale, on-farm agronomic field trials over an entire small watershed. Those trials will randomize N application rates and cover-crop management strategies to measure both yield and water quality results of varying these managed input variables. We will use the generated data with existing agricultural “Big Data” to create “decision tool” software to improve private and public crop fertilization strategies. The proposed research will rely heavily on the proven abilities and infrastructure of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies, and on the software, administrative capacity, and scientist-farmer relationships developed in an on-going USDA-NIFA Food Security project on data-intensive fertilizer management. In addition, we will provide opportunities for underrepresented undergraduates to gain research experience through an extension of the WE CAN program.

New Faces at DIFM

Posted on October 09, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Joshua Babes is an undergraduate at UIUC studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics who is volunteering to work with the Data-Intensive Farm Management project. Joshua comes from the north side of Chicago and is working towards a career in consulting doing data analytics. He hopes to begin to learn more about the analytics while contributing to DIFM. 

Abstracts Submitted for the International Society of Precision Agriculture Conference

Posted on October 09, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Professor and PI David Bullock has submitted and co-submitted a pair of abstracts for the ISPA Conference in 2019. With P. Paccioretti, M. Cordoba, C. Bruno, and Monica Balzarini, Professor Bullock submitted “Statistical modeling for on-farm experimentation with precision agricultural technology.” Professor Bullock submitted an additional abstract regarding the value of on-farm experimentation.

DIFM at the Highland Community College Field Day

Posted on September 10, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Robert Dunker attended the Highland Community College Field Day on August 29, 2018 in Freeport Illinois.  The DIFM Program had a booth to distribute information about farmer recruitment and participation.  Several students and farmers stopped by the booth to learn more about the program and how they could become involved.

DIFM at the Kane County Corn Growers Plot Meeting

Posted on September 10, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

On August 21, Dennis Bowman, University of Illinois Extension Educator, spoke to 45 farmers and agricultural professionals at the Kane County Corn Growers Plot Meeting. He explained the goals and methods of the DIFM project.


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DIFM at the ACES Fall Festival

Posted on September 10, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM participated in the ACES Fall Festival, which invites undergraduate students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to come to the U of I Stock Pavilion in order to learn about available opportunities at the College. Groups from the U of I Rodeo Club to the DIFM project had booths at the Fall Festival.


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At the Festival, we sought to attract students looking for undergraduate research experiences, and to recruit farm families to join in the project. At present, two students David Bullock met at the Fall Festival are interested in participating in our research, and one farm family has expressed interest in running a trial on their fields.


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DIFM 2018 Recruitment

Posted on August 31, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

DIFM hosted several farmer recruitment meetings at the DIFM House in South Campus over Spring 2018. As a consequence of these meetings, with both new contacts and to follow up with past participants, we gained three new farmer-participants in Illinois, two in New York, two in Washington, and one in Kansas. In addition, several past participants decided to expand our project onto additional fields!

Applications for Future Funding

Posted on August 31, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

In the fall of 2018, the DIFM project is working with collaborators around the globe to ensure continued funding for our work. At present, we have turned in applications to CGIAR and to the Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Extension Grant. We’re hoping to hear back on these applications in the coming months!

New Faces At DIFM: Rodrigo Goncalves Trevisan

Posted on August 29, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)



Rodrigo Goncalves Trevisan is a new graduate student in crop sciences under Professor Nicolas Martin who is focused on harnessing the power of new analytical methods to improve the decision-making process in agricultural systems. Trevisan received a baccalaureate degree in agronomy from the Federal University of Mato Grosso, and his master’s degree in agricultural systems engineering from the Luis de Queiroz College of Agriculture at the University of Sao Pãulo. He is the precision agriculture coordinator in one of the largest agriculture companies in Brazil, and is co-founder and the head of research and development of technological solutions for agribusiness at Smart Agri. Trevisan has participated in events as speaker and organizer and is a founding member of the Brazilian Association of Precision Agriculture. He is experienced in agricultural planning, precision agriculture, on-farm experimentation, remote sensing, geographic information systems, data analysis, and artificial intelligence.

DIFM at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture

Posted on August 28, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)


Laila Puntel, of Iowa State University, and Brittani Edge and Aolin Gong, of the University of Illinois, presented at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Montreal. Puntel stated, “It was great to see such a big community from all over the world…people from Australia, Germany, Belgium, South America, Canada, and US.”

In order to collaborate internationally, scientists from Curtin University in Australia organized a consortium for on-farm experimentation, to which Puntel was invited. This partnership will allow the DIFM project to be connected with OFE in different countries.




Montana State University- and University of Montana-based researchers affiliated with DIFM also shared their research: Amy Peerlinck, John Sheppard, and Bruce Maxwell gave a presentation titled “Using Deep Learning in Yield and Protein Prediction of Winter Wheat Based on Fertilization Prescriptions in Precision Agriculture,” and Bruce Maxwell, Paul Hegedus, Anton Bekkerman, Robert Payn, John Sheppard, Nicholas Silverman, and Clemente Izurieta gave a presentation titled, “Can Optimization Associated with On-Farm Experimentation Using On-Farm Experimentation Using Site-Specific Technologies Improve Producer Management Decisions?”





Graduate Student Brendan Kuhns Travels to South America

Posted on August 24, 2018by Carli J. Jones (Miller)

Following this trip, Kuhns concluded that the majority of Colombian farmers currently lack the ability to run DIFM trials. However, demonstration trials will begin at Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), a technical school in Colombia, with hopes of passing the practice on to farmers as equipment is upgraded.


Members of the Data-Intensive Farm Management project has since submitted a grant to CGIAR to develop low-cost sensing technology for these farmers, that would allow them to participate in our trials. The detailed results of the trip is available to DIFM researchers upon request.


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